QB-TE-ATH Cam Newton, #2 (Junior)
Auburn PFW Grade: 5.85
Ht: 6-5 | Wt: 248 | Sp: 4.58 | Arm: 33 3/4 | Hand: 9 7/8
Notes: Also played basketball as a Georgia prep. Began his collegiate career at Florida, where he signed on to play for then-head coach Urban Meyer and the Gators. Appeared in five games as a true freshman in 2007, completing 5-of-10 pass attempts (50 percent) for 40 yards with zero touchdowns and zero interceptions. Also rushed 16 times for 103 yards (6.4-yard average) and three touchdowns. Was slowed by an ankle injury in '08 — appeared in one contest, but ultimately redshirted (also sustained a minor neck injury in an early November car accident). Was arrested in late November and charged with felony charges of burglary, larceny and intimidating a witness, informant or victim after stealing a laptop computer from a student's dorm room and throwing it out the window when police arrived at Newton's for questioning. Charges were dropped upon his completion of a pretrial diversion program. Reportedly transferred rather than face possible expulsion stemming from three incidents of academic cheating, including two as a sophomore when he put his name on someone else's paper and purchased a paper online, attempting to pass it off as his own work. Landed at Blinn College (Texas) and won the NJCAA national championship in '09 — totaled 204-336-2,833-22-5 (60.1) passing and 108-655-16 (6.1) rushing in 12 games. Had a historic season for the national champion Tigers in '10 — 14-game starter was honored with the Heisman Trophy and the Maxwell, Walter Camp and Davey O'Brien Awards after leading the SEC in rushing and total offense by totaling 185-280-2,854-30-7 (66.1) through the air and 264-1,473-20 (5.6) on the ground. Also caught two passes for 42 yards (21.0) and a touchdown. Hurt his back in the BCS championship game. Was declared ineligible for a day leading up to the SEC title game — Newton's father, Cecil, allegedly enlisted an agent "runner" to initiate a pay-for-play bidding war for Cam's commitment. It was reported that Cam's desire was to play for Mississippi State, but he allegedly succumbed to his father's decision (Auburn) based on a six-figure payment. Was ultimately reinstated after the NCAA did not find sufficient evidence to prove Cam or Auburn officials were complicit in Cecil's actions. Had a 25-1 career starting record (including junior college).
Positives: Very well-built with big deltoids and a strapping physique. Excellent arm strength — can make difficult throws off-balance while on the move and air out the deep ball, hitting receivers in stride 50 yards downfield. Throws with velocity. Composed in pressure situations and found ways to come through in the clutch. Big, strong, physical runner. Pounds defenders and can push a pile — almost always falls forward. Smooth-striding, fluid-moving athlete. Highly competitive and productive against top Southeastern Conference competition — rose to the occasion against Alabama and Oregon on the biggest of stages. Very savvy — confident, charming and charismatic and can light up a room. Highly competitive and plays with passion.
Negatives: Played in a simplified, run-first, dive-option read offense with very basic high-low reads. Worked exclusively out of the gun and was very quick to run at the first flash of coverage. Limited field vision — does not process the passing game. Inconsistent throwing mechanics with a flick delivery — generates all of his power from his upper-body strength and too often arms the ball. Streaky passer with spotty accuracy. Makes his receivers work hard and throws into coverage. Does not spin a tight spiral. Very disingenuous — has a fake smile, comes off as very scripted and has a selfish, me-first makeup. Always knows where the cameras are and plays to them. Has an enormous ego with a sense of entitlement that continually invites trouble and makes him believe he is above the law — does not command respect from teammates and always will struggle to win a locker room. Only a one-year producer. Lacks accountability, focus and trustworthiness — is not punctual, seeks shortcuts and sets a bad example. Immature and has had issues with authority. Not dependable.
Summary: An extremely talented, dual-threat QB who carried Auburn to a national title, Newton has the arm and athletic talent desired in a rollout, play-action, bootleg vertical passing game and would fit ideally into an offense such as that of the Redskins or Raiders. However, he always will test the rules, be difficult to manage and lacks the intangibles to win the trust of a locker room. Will require a very strong-willed, demanding coach to live up to his potential and avoid the trappings of fame and fortune, but even the greatest taskmaster will not be able to keep away the drama that is still swirling from a stained Heisman Trophy and littered recruiting trail that Newton left in the SEC. Can provide an initial spark, but will quickly be dissected and contained by NFL defensive coordinators, struggle to sustain success and will not prove worthy of an early investment. An overhyped, high-risk, high-reward selection with a glaring bust factor, Newton is sure to be drafted more highly than he should and could foreclose a risk-taking GM's job and taint a locker room.
NFL projection: Top-15 pick.
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